Birthday Party Shortcuts

Flip through our editors' picks for quick birthday party decorating tricks.
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BIRTHDAY BASH

Show your friends that you have no problem hitting the next big age: Copy an old picture -- maybe from your senior year, big crunchy perm and all (this was my high school cheerleading shot!). Cut out letters from a magazine to write a funny, scrapbook-style caption and glue the picture to a plain note card.

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birthday bash

Invitations: You're Invited

FREEZE FRAME

Thread velvet ribbon through a mini photo frame to make an ornament.

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Wrapping-Presents and photo frame

Wrapping Presents: Fit to Be Tied

SPACE BALLS

Derek McLane's stellar centerpiece is simply out of this world. The set designer for the musical Grease was inspired by the hues of the iconic Pink Ladies and T-Bird jackets. McLane turned a funnel on its end and attached painted foam balls to it with skewers. We love it for a kids' birthday party -- or any bash that needs an eye-popping splash of color.

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center piece jun 8

Birthday Party Centerpieces

SUGAR HIGH

Take your candy bowl to new heights! Dylan Lauren, owner of confection megastore Dylan's Candy Bar, decorates her birthday party table with this sweet centerpiece. Fill plant pots with Conversation Hearts, jelly beans, rock candy and Red Hots and nest lollipops in the mix. Bonus: it doubles as dessert!

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centerpiece feb 8

Birthday Party Centerpieces

MASTERS OF DISGUISE

Try these tricks for hard-to-wrap gifts:

Golf Iron
Turn a putter into a flower—just tape a large paper bloom to the wrapped club.

Toy Ball
Make it look like an ornament: Gather soft gift wrap or tissue paper around the ball (aligning the natural pleats) and make a loop from gold wire ribbon for the hanger.

Wine Bottle
Use a candy wrap: Put bubble wrap around the present, gift wrap, then tie the ends. Use the same method to make a candy cane shape -- simply add more bubble wrap to the curved end.

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Gift-Wrapping Party

SMART COOKIES

Steam open fortune cookies and add your own clever messages. First, write or type your messages and cut into small strips. Place the cookies in a vegetable steamer over simmering water (don't let water into the steamer basket!) for about 30 to 45 seconds, until they are soft enough to open. Working quickly, replace the fortune with your own, fold the cookie back into the original shape and let reharden.

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smart cookies

Party Favors: Do Me a Favor